This book by Libba Bray was recommended to me by a friend a couple months ago. It was one of those where, after the recommendation, I started seeing it in other places. The ebook recently went on sale so I went ahead and bought it, despite having promised myself I wasn’t going to buy any more books (like I ever really believed that promise anyway).
The synopsis I read mentioned a secret power, a serial killer, and secrets. I thought that sounded interesting so I went ahead and added it to my to-read shelf.
Somewhere along the line I missed the fact that this book is horror. Horror is fine. I just wish I had been prepared for it. I started reading it shortly before going on vacation to Wisconsin with my family. I always look forward to these vacations as a time to get a lot of reading done, and I did read a lot during the day. But for those of you who have not yet read this book, I do not recommend reading it in a cabin in the middle of nowhere at night.
Once the sun set and we had all eaten dinner and sat down to read our books I found myself curling up next to my dad for protection from my big scary book. The next morning I would try to read as much as possible so I could do other things after dark instead of freaking myself out with a ghost story.
It turns out the serial killer mentioned in the synopsis is a ghost who has been dead for fifty years and has come back to finish making his eleven “offerings” (as in, human sacrifices) so he can rise as “the Beast” or the chosen one or possibly both. In any case he wants to “cleanse the world in blood and fire”. A serial killer is one thing, but a murderous ghost is so much scarier than your average flesh-and-blood psycho!
I loved this book. It takes place in New York City in 1926 and the main character (Evangeline “Evie” O’Neill) is a flapper all the way. She couldn’t wait to escape her boring small town in Ohio to enjoy the nightclubs and illegal cocktails the big city has to offer. She loves jazz (scandalous!) and spends most of her nights dancing and drinking.
That doesn’t mean she’s an insubstantial character. She does have a “special power” she uses to help identify and eventually destroy the ghostly killer. Her Uncle William Fitzgerald (who means well, but really doesn’t know what to do with her) could not have solved the case without her.
I loved Evie. She didn’t always think before she acted, but who among us hasn’t been guilty of that once in a while? Ultimately, she means well, and as I said, she uses her gift to help catch the killer, even though it means putting herself in great danger in order to do so.
I loved all of the characters. Jericho is probably my least favorite, but I am interested to see what happens between him, Evie, and Sam. I also can’t wait to see what happens to Theta (a professional dancer who got her start in vaudeville) and Memphis (a numbers runner who can heal people by touching them). The hopeless romantic in me wants to believe everything will work out for them, while the rational part of me is going, “Ooooo! Biracial couple in 1926. Yeah. Good luck with that.”
This book was very well written, a lot of fun, and I can’t wait for the sequel!
What about you guys? What do you like to read on vacation? Anything that keeps you up at night? I want to hear all about it in the comments.